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[nim-buh l] /ˈnɪm bəl/
adjective, nimbler, nimblest.
quick and light in movement; moving with ease; agile; active; rapid:
nimble feet.
quick to understand, think, devise, etc.:
a nimble mind.
cleverly contrived:
a story with a nimble plot.
Origin of nimble
late Middle English
before 1000; late Middle English nymel, earlier nemel, Old English nǣmel capable, equivalent to nǣm- (variant stem of niman to take; see nim1) + -el -le
Related forms
nimbleness, noun
nimbly, adverb
unnimble, adjective
unnimbleness, noun
unnimbly, adverb
1. lively, brisk, swift. 2. alert.
1. clumsy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nimbleness
  • The job is not for everyone and requires a certain nimbleness.
  • Second, the ideal environment for cultivating the unknown is to nurture the supreme agility and nimbleness of networks.
  • And with almost breathtaking nimbleness, he's managed to avoid lawsuits and the long arm of the law.
  • It has the nimbleness of a greyhound, but not the bulk and body of a mastiff.
  • But the truth about oratory is that you need talent, and wit, and nimbleness.
  • The bank has a reputation for nimbleness, innovation and customer service.
  • In an industry that thrives on innovation, you might think that youthful energy and nimbleness were decisive advantages.
  • Its success stems from its nimbleness and ability to mutate.
  • Moreover, the oil industry's future may turn on two things where nimbleness may count for more than size.
  • It has shown some nimbleness by rethinking the way it lends in order to meet the needs of large emerging economies better.
British Dictionary definitions for nimbleness


agile, quick, and neat in movement: nimble fingers
alert; acute: a nimble intellect
Derived Forms
nimbleness, noun
nimbly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English nǣmel quick to grasp, and numol quick at seizing, both from niman to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nimbleness



"agile, light-footed," c.1300, nemel, from Old English næmel "quick to grasp" (attested but once), related to niman "to take," from Proto-Germanic *nemanan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Dutch, Gothic niman, Old Norse nema, Old Frisian nima, German nehmen "to take"), from PIE root *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot," also "to take" (cf. Greek nemein "to deal out," nemesis "just indignation," Latin numerus "number," Lithuanian nuoma "rent, interest," Middle Irish nos "custom, usage"). With excrescent -b- from c.1500 (cf. limb (n.1)). Related: Nimbleness. In 17c., English had nimblechaps "talkative fellow."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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